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Abramovich to get legal case result
Roman Abramovich will find out on Friday whether he has won his legal battle with Boris Berezovsky
Chelsea Football Club owner Roman Abramovich will discover this week whether he has won a multibillion-pound legal battle with fellow Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky, court officials have said.
Mr Berezovsky, 66, claimed Mr Abramovich, 45, had "intimidated" him into selling shares in a Russian oil company at a fraction of their value, during a High Court trial which started in London in October 2011 and ended in January 2012. He also claimed that Mr Abramovich had broken a promise made during a deal relating to an aluminium company.
Mr Berezovsky alleged blackmail, breach of trust and breach of contract and claimed more than £3 billion damages.
Mr Abramovich denied the allegations and denied Mr Berezovsky was entitled to damages.
Judicial Office officials said High Court judge Mrs Justice Gloster would deliver a ruling in London on Friday.
Laurence Rabinowitz QC, for Mr Berezovsky, told the trial both men had worked together to acquire Russian oil company Sibneft following the collapse of the Soviet Union two decades ago - and became friends.
Mr Berezovsky claimed that in 1995 he, a colleague and Mr Abramovich agreed to "work together" to bring Sibneft under their control.
They had persuaded then Russian president Boris Yeltsin to "bring about the privatisation of Sibneft and its disposal into their hands", Mr Rabinowitz told the court.
But Mr Abramovich had intimidated Mr Berezovsky and his colleague into selling their ownership interest in Sibneft at a "massive undervalue" and put Mr Berezovsky "in fear for the life of his friend and the risk that his property might be expropriated", added Mr Rabinowitz.
Jonathan Sumption QC, for Mr Abramovich, said Mr Berezovsky was paid millions of pounds by businesses controlled by Mr Abramovich for his services as a "political godfather". But Mr Sumption said Mr Berezovsky had not "contributed a single cent" to acquiring or building up Sibneft, nor made any managerial contribution. He said Mr Berezovsky's contribution had been "important, indeed ... indispensable" but "almost entirely political".
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